A “Chevy Nova” Situation

One of the first lessons I can remember learning in Professor Olson’s Intro to Advertising class is that when developing an ad campaign, one must always take into consideration who the audience is. The famous example that paired with this lesson was the “Chevy Nova” campaign which didn’t quite translate positively in Spanish – “Chevy Nova” = “Chevy doesn’t go.” Interestingly enough, a similar scenario surfaced while working at my internship this week.

One of our biggest clients at MOD Worldwide is the fabulous Boyd’s Department Store, located right at 1818 Chestnut Street, which is famous for its regal blue awnings and sophisticated, high-fashion inventory. MOD is currently in the lengthy process of updating Boyd’s spring website, which naturally features both men’s and women’s fashion garments. On the landing page for the Men’s section of the website, an attractive photo of a male is displayed with a clever headline that read, “Spring Styles She’ll Swoon Over”. It sounded pretty fitting to us.

The only problem was, as pointed out by the marketing director at Boyd’s, male shoppers at Boyd’s aren’t solely heterosexual. She felt the headline excluded a large percentage of their gay male customer base, and requested the line be changed to something less gender-specific. And why shouldn’t it? It was a simple detail so minute to our employees, yet a detail nonetheless that could make a difference to someone viewing the site.

We are taught that advertising cannot be “all things to everyone.” However, it is important to, in every possible aspect, consider who will be viewing what you’re putting out there, and how they may react to it.


  1. Hey Kristi! That’s so cool that you’re interning at a company that deals with fashion clients. When I graduate I would love to work with fashion in the advertising world. I was wondering what your take on working with fashion is? Do you get to work on projects as an intern, or simply shadow the pros?

  2. Well, in this scenario working with Boyds isn’t so far off from the kind of work we do for all our other clients. Boyds generally handles the photoshoots, styling, and all things fashion-related themselves, and then its MOD’s job to create e-blasts, direct mail pieces, and window/elevator signs for within the store, in addition to programming and updating their website. Oh, and we’ve had to do a TON TON TON of photoshopping (for example, on shoes, handbags, shirts, ties, etc that are eventually uploaded as thumbnails on their websites or placed into an eblast/direct mail piece). So there isn’t a ton of involvement with the fashion world other than researching and keeping up with the design trends of other high-end department stores such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, etc etc. But to answer your last question, I have had the opportunity to help put together several of the pieces that we create for them.

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